In this stunning shot that combines a number of visual elements, ice climber Mike Stuart ascends the toe of the Athabasca Glacier in Canada’s Jasper National Park.
According to photographer Paul Zizka, getting the shot just right required patience, technical skill, and a little bit of luck. First and foremost, he needed the weather to cooperate.
“We had postponed the shoot a few times in order to get a clear night, and when we finally did get favorable conditions, the forecast came with a high likelihood of an aurora display,” says Zizka. “As soon as it got dark, the lights danced overhead for hours, with the camera revealing an array of colors, and [there were] even auroras to the south, which is very rare at our latitude.”
As the shoot was at night, Zizka’s biggest technical challenge was freezing the motion of the climber without blurring his movements. “I was working with exposures lasting from 3 to 20 seconds,” he says. “Thankfully, I have patient and talented friends to work with, and we were able to get the shot!”